To understand Matthew 13:11, read Matthew 11:25…

Thanks to everyone who left such thoughtful comments on my Matthew 13:11 post from a few days back.Simon writes: I had never seen that verse as relating to contemplation. Rather, it seems to me to refer to basic Christian truths. My Vine’s Dictionary says “In the ordinary sense a mystery implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed”. I think Vine's is nailing it on the head. This is how Christian mysticism differs from pagan mysticism: the pagan mystery cults wer … [Read more...]

Live, Laugh, Love, Lectio

This week I led a retreat at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit on the theme of "Live, Laugh, Love." It's an interesting topic to explore in the setting of a Trappist monastery, known for its silent atmosphere and ethos of Cistercian simplicity. But the small group of retreatants and I have enjoyed plenty of fun and chuckles as we have explored our topic together.One of the exercises I provided for the retreatants was a lectio divina exercise on the following scripture verses. I thought they … [Read more...]

The Bible Beyond Fear

Yesterday a person who's attending the Christian mysticism event in Portland wrote to me and said: A question just occurred to me ... for a few reasons (one being paralyzing fear about End Times) I haven't been reading the Bible in the last few years.  I was taught to read and interpret in a very unhealthy, fearful way.  I had to disconnect myself from it for a while but I'd like very much to reintroduce myself to the Bible and begin reading with new eyes and my new heart. What a great question, … [Read more...]

What are your favorite Psalms?

For today's Lay Cistercian meeting we have been asked to identify our ten favorite Psalms and our favorite verse from the Psalms. Here's my list:Psalm 4 Psalm 8 Psalm 19 Psalm 24 Psalm 34 Psalm 100 Psalm 121 Psalm 131 Psalm 133 Psalm 150And my favorite verse is, far and away, Psalm 37:4 — "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart."So what are your favorite Psalms and/or verses?Here is the NIV Text of these Psalms: … [Read more...]


Here are two of my favorite verses in the Hebrew scriptures: Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. — Psalm 37:4The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. — Zephaniah 3:17 I don't know about you, but in all my experience growing up in a stick-in-the-mud Lutheran Church no one ever suggested to me that spirituality is all about God taking del … [Read more...]